CEBU

Batuhan: Low fat

HOW has the Philippines become a nation of fat people?

Okay, I apologize. I know in today’s politically correct world, we’re not supposed to say the word “fat” anymore. Horizontally-challenged, or words to that effect, is used instead to assuage the feelings of body-image activists. And I get that. Nobody ought to be discriminated on the basis of one’s sexual identity, race, religion and indeed–body shape. After all, we are all different, and diversity is the glue that binds a diverse world together, or we just descend into total chaos if we don’t.

There’s a thing that’s different about being overweight or obese in today’s world, however. It’s not really something one has no control over, like one’s race or religion, as oftentimes people are born into their particular situation. And it’s not really a lifestyle choice either, as gender identity is oftentimes seen to be. It’s kind of stuck in the middle of being a forced condition and a choice, and it seems like it really is neither.

For a long time (and many do until today, though quite possibly keep their thoughts to themselves), many held the view that a person who had no control over their weight was fat and lazy. This therefore gave rise to a lot of stereotyping–that people of a particular body shape were singled out for rejection in work applications, etc., did not sit well with many civil rights advocates.

As a consequence, the pendulum seems to have swung the other way. Body shape now seems to be perceived as a matter of personal choice, and so it is almost taboo to refer to it in a pejorative way. Body acceptance is a thing now, with plus-size models being seen as champions of free expression.

And yet, what is this really promoting?

Some people are on the heavy side due to their genetic makeup. Hormonal issues can sometimes cause this condition. There is little that can be done about this group. Their luck, it seems, is to be the way they are, with the choice not really up to them. But this group aside, it seems that everyone else who is overweight does not really want to be in this condition. Somehow, they are the way they are for reasons they don’t fully understand, and much more don’t control.

The current understanding of nutrition does not really make their predicament any less easier. Food choices are shaped over a long period of time and therefore the availability of food options does not really change all that much in the short-term.

In our previous piece, we mentioned the fact that fat has always been seen to be a bad thing, and so most places offering anything related to food have tended to focus on the “low-fat” variety to make them sound healthy. Skimmed milk, low-fat yogurt, light options, etc.

The thing is, to make things taste better, something has to make up for the fat they took away. And what was this thing that they added? Why, sugar, of course. Good, old sugar, when added to food that already had its fat taken away, seems to make it taste better. And herein lay the problem with the Philippines becoming an increasingly obese country.

Look around you, and the answer is obvious. Sugar, sugar, and still more sugar everywhere. Hell, even our spaghetti tastes sweet. You find sugar in the most unlikely places, as it fills the void left by the fat reduction and elimination.

And yet, the more fat we have taken away from the food we eat, the fatter it seems we have all become.

(Continued next week.)


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